Research unearths Australia’s first female organic farmer
An Australian woman was part of the world’s first organic agriculture research entity, according to recent research by the University of Tasmania’s School of Land and Food.
The story of Australia’s earliest woman organic farmer Ileen Macpherson, has been unearthed in the latest publication by the School of Land and Food’s Dr John Paull and has now been shared as part of the Invisible Farmer Project of Museum Victoria.
Dr Paull research took him to the Swiss archives of the Goetheanum, in the foothills of the Jura Mountains, on a hunch that there may be Australians amongst the world’s first organic agriculture research entity.
“Research showed that Dr Rudolf Steiner had founded the Experimental Circle of Anthroposophic Farmers and Gardeners at his Agriculture Course which he delivered in the Silesian village of Koberwitz (Germany, now Poland) in 1924,” Dr Paull said.
“However in the Archives there was also documentation from an Australian woman, Ileen Macpherson (1898-1984), revealing that she was putting to the test Steiner’s ideas for natural (rather than chemical) farming practices,
“With her partner, Ernesto Genoni, Ileen founded Demeter Farm in Dandenong, Victoria, in 1934 and together, they pioneered biodynamic and organic farming on their mixed farm for the next two decades.”
The publication and Ileen’s story can be read at https://jorganics.files.wordpress.com/2017/02/jo415.pdf